Friday, April 24, 2009

Hubble Telescope at 19

Eric the "Sci Guy" at the Houston Chronicle celebrates the 19th birthday of the Hubble Deep Space Telescope, which was supposed to only last 10 years or so. The picture is a former star that blew up - talk about a bad day but it sure is pretty. The colors mean different chemicals. Anyway, another Space Shuttle mission should give it another 5 years of life and make the pictures even more awesome. Photo credit to NASA.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In Retrospect

I found some pictures of Don Wierenga, Sandy Feet's dad, some on his blog. The man passed away on Monday night all the sudden, a real shock. It seems like just the other day I visited and he seemed more fit than me at 78, working away at his beloved construction of his retirement cottage or thinking about some shrimp at the Wanna Wanna. Anyay, these pictures were from his recent work in Africa, where he helped people build things and make things work.

An educator for years, he found a passion to going into the darkest places to help people, such as when he helped build new homes for Katrina victims. When I grow up I want to be just like Don.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Zeste Things

I was rather surprised to see that our local deli, bistro, and gourmet joint on the island isn't doing so well these days. The name is "Zeste" (956-761-5555). I usually don't write about these kinds of things but they're so sad ... I was the only person there shopping for to-go yesterday evening and Mike, Lisa, Barry, and Amy looked real bummed-out.

The story is Lori came home from San Diego and caught something she described as "airplane flu." You know, coughs, fever, scratchy throat, the bug. So being a nice cabana boy and all-around fella I called in an order for ahi tuna, roasted duck, mussels in white wine, and a salad with so many things in it I can't pronounce them all. Is "Monteggio" the kind of cheese we had?

But good? Wow I hit on all cylinders there, a very happy wife. The cost was like 28 bucks with the sliced baguette bread but I added in a designer beer called 'Old Speckled Hen' or something I'd never had before. And yes, it passed "the Sammy test" for digestability with flying colors. All I'm saying is to please support your local business, and this is a good 'un.

Update April 20:

You know, last week or so has seemed like everyone was tired. I was way stressed and tired too, so don't take what I wrote too literally in the first paragraph. Phase of the moon? Trust me, Mike and Lisa are as energetic and funny as ever. They always brighten up my day.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

A Message from the Sturgeon General

Gulf of Mexico Sturgeon
"The General"

It turns out there are sturgeon in the Gulf of Mexico, although mainly from the Pearl River in Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle including the Suwanee. I had heard about it but I even found an official-looking USGS/Florida shebang about 'em. My brother in coastal Mississippi probably has 'em and doesn't even know it (hint - up the Pascagoula River). Sometimes I wonder if there were any in the Rio Grand watershed, as I know they like freshwater too. I love this quote: "Gulf sturgeon can jump six feet out of the water."

Not bad for a little old dinosaur.

Y'all remember the stories about boaters being struck by jumping sturgeon, especially those in personal watercraft. Heck we could ranch 'em down here, especially if they cleaned up the Arroyo Colorado. Only a crazy Texas Yankee would ever think about ranching sturgeons.

Why, all they do is munch and jump, mate once a year "like the sound of a creaking door," are extinct and on the endangered list, and you're not even supposed to eat caviar. Sheesh. But think about it, if you ranch your sturgeons right, they'll always come home for dinner just like little cow doggies. Why, I imagine some would even get names like "Ranger" and "Howie" and "Missy."

And what a picture that would be, YOU feeding some ancient dinosaur fish with huge nose hairs and really big sucker lips, built like an armored tank. I bet people would line up for miles and miles. Why a little bar would be nice, just like that famous bar in Florida that has hundreds of tarpon trolling for food scraps ... and the tourists go nuts, love it. Heck man, we only got the hardhead catfish that swarm behind Louie's. Let's get some class and pizazz down here!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

"Don't drink the Kool-Aid"

I got a question from somebody in Houston about what is meant by "don't drink the Kool-Aid." This expression has become part of our regular speak now, so I thought I'd help such wayward folks along.

It origins are from a horrible, whacked-out religious mission that committed suicide in 1978 by drinking poisoned grape Kool-Aid, something that was premeditated by an odd fellow and wacko kook named Jim Jones when in a country called Guyana. But after a few decades, it took on a very different meaning.

This is not exactly correct from what I can tell, since The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test was published in 1968 by a guy named Thomas Wolfe. If you drank that stuff ou were high for about half a day or more, would listen to the Grateful Dead all the time, and would contemplate your navel a real lot. It meant stoned-to-the-bone.

In modern times, people who were around President Bush #43 were said to have "drank the Kool-Aid" when doing the crazy things they did. At some point, Enron executives were known to have taken long drinks of the stuff. More recently, when handing out bennies to General Motors and Chrysler, or fixing the banking system, some pundits accused President Obama of "drinking the Kool-Aid." What on Earth did they mean?

Basically the term means to agree to some powerful status quo instead of thinking for yourself, and blindly following the leaders and making horrendous mistakes. I'm talking big mistakes, like the financial "experts" who got us in the worst recession since the Great Depression: they drank the Kool-Aid. The term doesn't mean that you're impaired, stoned, or dead anymore (funny sentence!). It merely means that you have no judgment and you messed up by trusting the authorities.